Destruction

Revelation 18

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Babylon is often a generalization of those who are against God. As the Revelation is getting closer to the end we see the time when all of those that are against God will soon see their end. 

Two things stood out to me in this chapter:

The first was in vs. 4 –

“Then I heard another voice calling from heaven, “Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her.”

Revelation 18:4 NLT

John 17 tells that we are not of the world, but like Christ, we are sent into it. The everyday world we live in is surrounded in the evil described in these last chapters. Although we are surrounded by it, we cannot be a part of it. 

Here we are being called away. Another reminder to not be like those who have made the life choices to be against God. We shouldn’t take part in sin and if we do, we already have a clear picture of the punishment in store for the enemies of God.

The second is on that punishment in vs. 6 –  

“Do to her as she has done to others. Double her penalty for all her evil deeds. She brewed a cup of terror for others, so brew twice as much for her.”

Revelation 18:6 NLT

We all have been told at some point to do unto others as we would have done to us. Jesus gives us this golden rule in Matthew 7 as he encourages us to love others as he did. Here we see the fruition of just that. Have done to you as you have done unto others but further in a double measure.

This should really make you think. How would I be treated if it was based on how I have treated others? 

We are called out of the world to avoids it’s punishment and we will ultimately be judged on our actions and how we treated others.

Act like the world and we will be treated as the world. Act like Christ and we will be treated like Christ. One situation is accepted and loved temporarily while ending with eternal consequences. The other is temporary consequences with eternal rewards. We are given that choice and unfortunately many choose the one that is easier and convenient now while giving up a much greater reward that we get to see in the upcoming chapters.

-John Wincapaw

Reflection Questions

  1. When reading Revelation 18, which verses stand out to you most? How is Babylon described?
  2. Are there areas of your life where you are acting more like the world/Babylon than you are acting like Christ? What changes should be made? What loving warnings can be given to those living against God now?
  3. “How would I be treated if it was based on how I have treated others?”

More and More

1st Thessalonians 4

1 Thess 4 1 

This is one of my favorite chapters.  I will explain why shortly; first,  I want to point out that this chapter talks about living to please God. Verse 1 not only asks, but urges us in the Lord Jesus to please God more and more. It says to control our bodies in a way that is holy and honorable. We are told to love each other. It seems like I have heard that before?  How about in Mark 12:30-31 New International Version (NIV) where it says:

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

 

If we follow those commandments, we will please God. And if it is mentioned more than once, it must be important.

 

Now the reason this is one of my favorite chapters is because it speaks about the sleep of the dead. It says that one day Jesus will return and those who have fallen asleep have hope. We have HOPE! Hope of what you ask? Hope of meeting the Lord in the air and being with Him and God FOREVER! Verse 18 says to encourage each other with these words.  So I tell you encourage each other that we will be able to live for eternity with not only other believers but also God and Jesus.

 

Tomorrow we will talk about the last chapter of 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5.

 

-The Ransoms

Pasta! And Empathy

Friday

Luke 6-31

When talking about empathy in Bible, this one verse probably comes to mind before all others.

Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If empathy is about being able to see and understand the world from another’s perspective, then a deep understanding and practice of empathy should be a prerequisite for enacting this command.

 

There are two ways that we can approach this Christian calling.  The first and easier of the two requires only that we understand what we want and then providing that for others.  For instance, I love pasta.  All kinds of pasta.  So, I will pasta unto others as I would want others to pasta unto me.  But there’s a catch.  My wife can’t have gluten.  So, if I just pasta unto her all the pastas I love, then she will quickly not love them or me at all.

 

This kind of action only requires us to reflect upon ourselves.  What is it that we want?  How do I understand what is good and pleasurable and worth sharing?  At its heart, this is still a self-centered approach to loving others because my interests are the center of my actions.

 

The second kind of approach requires us to reflect on both what we appreciate and the context in which we find ourselves (an awareness of those around us).  In this situation, I know that I love pasta when I’m hungry.  I see that my wife is hungry and I want to provide her with the same satisfaction I get when someone gives me pasta.  But since she can’t have gluten, I know that I need to give her something that will be as delicious and comforting as pasta would be for me.

 

In this version of the story, I have taken my own desires out of my focus and instead placed her at the center.  Now I want to create the same type of joy in her that I experience, but in a way that is specific to her life and preferences.

 

OK – pasta may be a silly example, so let’s take it up a notch.  What about when someone approaches you and asks for some spare change.  What do you do?  If I simply place myself into their shoes and imagine what it would be like to be in such a dire situation that I would ask strangers for money, then I may reach into my pocket.  But what have I done in that moment?  I haven’t actually engaged in an act of empathy, but rather in an act of pity.

 

Empathy requires that we first acknowledge and open ourselves up to another.  We have to take the time to learn what it means for another to live in their shoes.  It means engaging with them as an equal and full person.  Pity minimizes another’s humanity.  Empathy embraces and supports it.

 

Doing unto them as I would want done unto me may mean that they still get my change in the end.  But it would only be after I had engaged with them as a full person.  That may mean I find out who they are, where they’ve been, what their life is like, and how I can be an encouragement/help to them today.  It may mean sitting down for a meal on the curb or even being honest about giving money.  In any situation, it means engaging with them on a personal level – like you would with a friend in the hall who you haven’t seen in a while.

 

This is the tricky part of empathy.   It always requires a unique action for each unique situation.  But it always demands that we interact and engage with others in the fullness of their humanity.

Today, may your fullness be recognized and may you encourage the fullness of life in others.

-Graysen Pack

How Do WE Become Men/Women after Gods Heart? (2 Samuel 19-20)

Monday, October 24

By Sherry Alcumbrack

King David has a distinction that no one else in the Bible has. Act 13:22 “ After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” God calls David a man after his own heart. When we read about King David, we read how he committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband killed, etc. But when God forgives us after we repent, he forgives and it is like it never happened.

What made David a man after God’s heart? One of his characteristics that stand out in these chapters is his kindness. He was kind to several people, and he wasn’t kind to these people because he thought they could repay him.

golden-rule-pic

The first instance is with Shimei, now you may not remember that name but in Chapter 16 he was the man, from the family of Saul, who came out cursing King David and throwing stones at him and his servants when Absalom was pursuing him. After Absalom is killed and David is coming back to Jerusalem, Shimei meets King David at the Jordan River, he bowed before him and asked for his forgiveness. Abishai advised the king to put him to death because he had cursed the Lord’s anointed. King David said in 22b and23 “Should any man be put to death in Israel today? For do I not know that I am king over Israel today?” The king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” Thus the king swore to him.

We heard about the kindness of King David to Mephibosheth earlier but he wasn’t finished. Mephibosheth did not leave with King David, and his servant Ziba lied to David about Mephibosheth. King David asked him “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” It had hurt King David because he thought another friend had deserted him. By this time King David had given Ziba the land that belonged to Mephibosheth but he restored it to him and said that he and Ziba would divide the land. But Mephibosheth was such a loyal friend that he said, “Let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house.

The third story involves Barzillai, an old man who had taken care of the king when he was in Mahanaim. Barzillai was also someone that showed kindness to others and thought nothing of taking in the King even when he might have brought death to his own family if Absalom came after him. King David wanted to show his appreciation by taking him back to Jerusalem. Barzillai went with him as far as Jordan. He told King David, I am an old man, hard of hearing, I can’t taste what I eat or drink and I do not want to be a burden to you. Let me go back to my city to die near the grave of my father and mother. But he offered someone in his place, Chimham, (probably his son.) King David said “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what is good in your sight; and whatever you require of me, I will do for you.” Later it is noted in 1 Kings 2:7 David tells his son Solomon to “show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table.”

Showing love and kindness to others who cannot repay us is a hallmark of Christians. It is what we are called to do in Matthew 7:12

matt-7-12-pic

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